Browse Tag

crony capitalism

Why Ann Wagner Is Wrong to Attack Heritage Action

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Accountability? We don’t need no stinking accountability.

No, Ann Wagner didn’t actually say that. But her comments to a 2nd District Republican committee meeting on Tuesday gave at least one attendee the impression that Mrs. Wagner opposes the idea of conservatives holding Congress accountable.

Ann Wagner Attacks the Conservative Heritage Action

Rep. Ann Wagner accused the conservative Heritage Action for America of “pitting Republican against Republican” and “never attacking Dems” at the Republican meeting.

I’d like to remind Mrs. Wagner that Heritage Action keeps score on all members of Congress, not just Republicans. Also, the reason Heritage Action and its Sentinels focus their activism on Republicans is because we know the Democrats are a lost cause. Yelling at Democrats doesn’t do a damn thing. (I have direct experience on this. I co-founded an organization that did nothing but yell at Democrats from 2009 to 2012.)

We don’t pit Republicans against Republicans, Mrs. Wagner; we pit members of Congress against their own principles. We hold people accountable, not to our standards, but to the principles people like you campaigned on.

Heritage Action Advances the Policies of Reagan’s Favorite Think-Tank

While no single institution is the sole judge of what is conservative, the Heritage Foundation comes close. Heritage’s white papers were the foundation of the Reagan Revolution. Here are some examples:

With the arrival of the Reagan administration, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative foreign policy think tanks saw a political opportunity to significantly expand Carter’s Afghanistan policy into a more global “doctrine”, including U.S. support to anti-communist resistance movements in Soviet-allied nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to political analysts Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, “it was the Heritage Foundation that translated theory into concrete policy. Heritage targeted nine nations for rollback: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam“.[5]

— Source: Wikipedia

And from Christian Science Monitor in 1984 writing about Heritage’s 1,100 page “Mandate for Leadership,” which was something like Reagan’s first administration blueprint:

Like a shadow government – but one with considerable clout – the conservative Heritage Foundation is at work throughout the Reagan administration. Its fingerprints can clearly be seen on the administration’s 1986 budget, now emerging from White House deliberations. And its access in recent days to top government officials, including Cabinet secretaries, has been unprecedented for a private organization.

Even the hardest of the hard left found Reagan’s policies looked like legislative or executive execution of Heritage policy papers:

Since the beginning of the Reagan Administration, the Heritage Foundation has had an incredible impact on Republican policies in America. The right-wing think tank founded by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner and Joseph Coors is largely to blame for the conservative state we find the country in today.

And, as Richard Amen wrote on We the People blog:

According to conservative writer William F.Buckley, Jr, Reagan acted upon approximately sixty percent of the three volumes of “Mandates” awaiting him when he took office which is why his Presidency was about sixty percent successful.

It’s safe to say that no other institution or think-tank exercised as much influence over the Reagan Administration as did Heritage. Now why wouldn’t Mrs. Wagner want to touch base with Reagan’s favorite think-tank? That’s exactly the service Heritage Action provides her.

Heritage Action launched in 2010 to help conservative legislators stay true to those first principles. Heritage realized that papers don’t change the world–actions do. But without a leader like Reagan to drive Heritage’s idea into law, its research and policy papers were just Saturday afternoon reading for conservative policy wonks.

Heritage Action’s purpose was to remind self-described conservatives in Washington that we don’t win when we don’t differentiate. And that call to differentiate seems precisely what disturbs Mrs. Wagner about Heritage Action.

Export-Import Bank Is a Silly Hill to Die On

Tell me how Mrs. Wagner differentiates herself from Democrats on Export-Import Bank? Wagner and Democrat Claire McCaskill read from identical talking point memos when they spoke to a St. Louis Public Radio reporter. They both threw out the same laughably false “facts” about Ex-Im and jobs, Ex-Im and “level playing fields.” Ann Wagner asking Heritage to attack Dems on Ex-Im is like a soldier calling for mortar fire on his own position.

Mrs. Wagner continued with some “facts,” like saying Ex-Im “is about 13,000 jobs in district. Jobs in this district. It’s not about Boeing.”

Oh really? Perhaps Mrs. Wagner would show us the research supporting her claim that Ex-Im created 13,000 jobs in her district. Because those would be the only 13,000 jobs Ex-Im created according to a Congressional Research Service report:

A Congressional Research Service report has confirmed that Ex-Im shifts jobs; it does not create them: “Economists generally maintain… that subsidizing export financing does not add to the overall level of economic activity, and subsidizes foreign consumption at the expense of the domestic economy. [Therefore], promoting exports through subsidized financing…will not permanently raise the level of employment in the economy, but alters the composition of employment among various sectors… and performs poorly as a jobs creation mechanism.”

Wagner is also wrong when she tells people, “This is about leveling the playing field in the International arena, and I will always fight for jobs in the district.” Less and 1/3 of Ex-Im’s loans involve competing subsidies from foreign governments. And the largest recipient of Ex-Im loans, Boeing, has stated it doesn’t need Ex-Im.

As I pointed out in an earlier post on the matter, Ex-Im is not a huge program. It is not the worst example of corporate welfare and government interference in free markets. Instead, Ex-Im is an easy win for principled conservatives. A no-brainer that requires no action. It will just go away.

By defending Ex-Im, Mrs. Wagner has telegraphed how she will handle tougher corporate welfare issues. She will always back corporate welfare queens because they will always cry “jobs.” No facts, just slogans. And this is why I am voting for Bill Slantz for Congress on November 4.

I just don’t understand why Mrs. Wagner would choose the Ex-Im hill to die on?

Hey, Kettle: The Pot Is Calling

What’s more disheartening than the made-up facts was Mrs. Wagner’s silly attack on Heritage Action’s motives. Mrs. Wagner told the audience, which included some Heritage donors and Sentinels, “Heritage is just trying to raise money for itself.”

Remarkable.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTION: A psychoanalytical theory, projection is the process whereby one subject believes they see attributes (both good and bad) in another. The theory views this tendency as a defense mechanism whereby unenviable or unpleasant traits, impulses or ideas are attributed to another. In this way, the projector is able to avoid the unpleasantness in themselves.

— Source: PROJECTION from Psychological Dictionary

 

Psychologists call it projection. In South St. Louis it was simply  “the pot calling the kettle black”.

Mrs. Wagner is one of the best-funded people in the House. She’s raised nearly $2 million in the current cycle despite running unopposed in her primary.

Here’s Ann Wagner’s fundraising vs. the House average:

Ann Wagner raises well more than the House average, yet she accuses a grassroots activist of taking positions for money. Source: OpenSecrets.org

Money doesn’t fall into a politician’s lap. She has to work for that money. And she does. Ann Wagner is known as one of the hardest working fundraisers in town. This one and Washington.

While Heritage Action does accept donations, fundraising is not high on its activity list. Accountability is. On that point, Mrs. Wagner seems as ill-informed as she is on the proper role of government and on the “conservative-ness” of the Export-Import Bank.

I realize that Mrs. Wagner has to defend her positions against critics like me. I wish she should do it without the use of fabricated “facts” and psychological projection.

And that, my friend, is why I am not voting for Ann Wagner this time around.

 

Note: This post has been updated. Poor writing in the earlier version seemed to diminish Ronald Reagan’s presidency. My apologies. It was totally just crappy writing and did not reflect my views. —wth

The Export-Import Bank Story the Post-Dispatch Refused to Print

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Since the Post won’t run my reply a recent op-ed about the Ex-Im Bank, I’ll publish it here:

Huge multi-national corporations like to preach from the “small business” bible when it comes to the Export-Import bank. Unfortunately, most of the Ex-Im propaganda about how “small business” benefits crumbles under scrutiny.

Professor Stanford Levin of Southern Illinois University recently wrote an Op-Ed supporting reauthorization of the Export Import Bank. As the professor states, the Export-Import Bank provides cheap loans to foreign companies and governments with which to buy products sold by mostly large, multi-national companies with headquarters in the United States.
But the professor failed to mention the details of his various arguments for the bank. Here are some important details that might change Professor Levin’s view of the bank:
1. Stanford doesn’t mention the Export-Import Bank’s definition of “small business.” According to Ex-Im, a small business has up to 1,500 employee and revenue of $21 million. So the Ex-Im idea of small is relative. Yes, 1,500 employees looks small to AT&T and Boeing, but it looks enormous to the small business owners I know.
2. Stanford claims “90 percent of the agency’s transactions last year were for small-business exports,” but he doesn’t tell you that a “transaction” is an application processed, not the amount of financing provided. The distribution of applications to Ex-Im is a meaningless statistic that only an economist could like.
3. Stanford fails to disclose how Ex-Im allocates financing between large and “small” businesses, but I will. In 2013, “small businesses” received less than 20 percent of Ex-Im authorizations (source http://www.exim.gov/about/library/reports/annualreports/2013/FY2013-auth-summary-and-small-business-auth.pdf). As Heritage Foundation Research Fellow Diane Katz found: “Multinational corporations attract the largest proportion of Ex–Im financing, including the construction and engineering firm of Bechtel, ranked by Forbes as the fourth-largest privately held company by revenue, and Lockheed Martin, valued in excess of $50 billion. But the bank’s foremost beneficiary is Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company (with a market capitalization exceeding $91 billion). In the past five years, the company has profited from 197 Ex–Im deals totaling $48 billion. Last year alone, Boeing-related financing comprised 30 percent of all Ex–Im activity.”
4. Nor does Professor Stanford inform your readers that Ex-Im hurts American works. For example, Delta Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association sued Ex-Im last year for providing unfair competition through loans to foreign airlines for which US airlines are ineligible.
5. Sadly, Ex-Im provides a lot of funding to America’s adversaries. Last year alone, Ex-Im provided business assistance to Chinese companies worth $638 million and Putin’s Russia worth $630 million.
6. The Inspector-General of Ex-Im disputes Professor Stanford’s claim that “the Export-Import Bank exercises due diligence before issuing credit.” In its latest report to Congress, the Export-Import Banks’ IG says, “One of the consistent observations arising out of audits, evaluations, and investigations conducted by the OIG are weaknesses in governance and
internal controls for business operations.” (Source: http://www.exim.gov/oig/upload/OIG_Report_FA13_508.pdf.)
7. There is no evidence that Ex-Im creates American jobs, as the professor implies. According to Heritage Research Fellow Diane Katz, “the bank does not count actual jobs related to its projects but simply extrapolates numbers based on national data. This formula does not distinguish among full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs. It also assumes that average employment trends apply to Ex–Im clients (who may not be typical).”
 
Clearly, the Export-Import Bank’s crony capitalist proponents like to play fast and loose with the facts. Just as clear the fact that the Ex-Im bank is a trough for feeding well-connected corporate welfare queens. It’s time to end the Export-Import Bank. 

One Irrefutable Definition of Leadership from Tom Landry

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s funny, really, that America celebrates the day we signed up to fight a brutal war for independence, not the day that war was won.

But I want to write about football.

I’ve always hated the Dallas Cowboys.

Cut me a little slack, though. I was a Big Red fan from childhood, and a season ticket holder from 1978 to 1983. (“Big Red” refers to the St. Louis Football Cardinals for those of you under 40.) My heroes were Conrad Dobler, Dan Dierdorf, Jim Hart, Tim Van Gelder, Terry Metcalf, Jim Otis, Council Roudolf, Roger Wherle, Larry Stallings, Larry Wilson, J.V. Cain, Roger Finney, Tom Banks, Bob Young, Mel Grey, Roy Green, Pat Tilley, Ottis Anderson, Theotis Brown, Jim Bakken, Johnny “Dr. Doom” Barefield . . . shall I go on?

The St. Louis Cardinals played in the NFC East in the 1970s and 1980s, along with the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants. That was a killer division back then, and the Cowboys were killerest of all.

My anti-Cowboy aquifer runs so deep and cold that I once said, “If the Cowboys were playing al Qaeda I don’t know who I’d root for.”

As I matured . . . Strike that. I haven’t matured.

After the Cardinals moved onto Phoenix, my passions against the Cowboys subsided a bit. When Jerry Jones crassly fired the legendary coach Tom Landry, I immediately became a Tom Landry fan. Landry might have been the wisest and most gentlemanly NFL head coach of all time.

Tom Landry took winning as seriously as the next guy, but football and winning were not the most important things to Landry. In 1979, he berated and fired linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson because Henderson was goofing with a camera while his team was getting massacred on the football field.

Landry did more than humiliate Henderson, though. He might have saved Henderson’s life:

Just this morning, 9/11/94, I heard Hollywood Henderson — X-Cowboy of considerable fame — from Austin on the Fox Network. He said that in the days when he was playing for the Cowboys and “at the same time doing drugs,” and “ruining his life,” he “resented Tom Landry.” He resented Tom Landry’s Christianity, and the fact that he had a happy family life.

Now, in 1994, after spending some time in prison, and after 11 years of being free of his drug addiction, Hollywood Henderson says that he has a little different slant on life. He said that he once was hopeless, but is now hopeful. He says that today, Tom Landry is his “role model”!

The Hollywood Henderson story typifies Tom Landry’s simple definition of leadership:

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.

—Tom Landry, Hall of Fame Coach of the Dallas Cowboys

Few people actually want to lift weights, eat healthy diets, and build stamina. But we all want to avoid disease, live long lives, and look good in a swimming suit. We need someone to help us do what we don’t want to do so we can achieve what we want to achieve. That someone is a leader.

America didn’t want to go through another deep recession in the early 1980s, but Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker knew we wanted America to flourish again, so they orchestrated an interest rate driven recession that finally choked out inflation—from 13.5% in 1981 to 3.2% in 1983.

And the Revolutionary Army didn’t want to winter in Valley Forge, but Washington helped them fight through to ultimate victory and independence.

I know some people don’t like my criticizing Republicans who put their own personal agenda or the party’s power before American greatness and freedom. I sure don’t like it. Many are even more reluctant to get leverage on the GOP with bold actions. People worry that getting political leverage on Republicans could help Democrats and their anti-freedom agenda.

But we need more than a victorious Republican Party. We really don’t care about the name of the party that delivers us from tyranny, crony capitalism, and fascism. We want a strong, prosperous, and free America. In the words of the preamble to the Constitution, we want to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and posterity.

When I encourage liberty lovers to get some leverage against miscreant Republicans, I do it only because I want us to achieve what we all want to achieve. And I recognize that achieving our big goals often requires doing things we don’t want to do.

Here’s what Hollywood Henderson said about Tom Landry:

I have a vision of him standing on that tower. He was maybe three stories above the team in training camp. That’s sort of where I remember him the five years I was in the Cowboys’ training camp–30 feet in the air overseeing us. Untouchable. We couldn’t throw a rock and hit him. I tell you, you sort of didn’t like him. You were afraid of him. You resented him. But when the dust settled, you wanted to be like him. When you had a family, took care of a company, managed people, you idolized him.

 

I think it’s a uniquely American quality that we commemorate the dates we signed up to do the hard work, not the dates we accomplished the mission. July 4th, 1776. December 7, 1941. September 11, 2001. We are a people of rash vows. Or, at least, we wish we were.

G. K. Chesterton wrote an essay “In Defence of Rash Vows.” In it, he summarized the importance of this American tendency to celebrate the making of the vow:

The man who makes a vow makes an appointment with himself at some distant time or place. The danger of it is that himself should not keep the appointment. And in modern times this terror of one’s self, of the weakness and mutability of one’s self, has perilously increased, and is the real basis of the objection to vows of any kind. 

Tom Landry’s leadership gives us the confidence to make appointments with ourselves in the future so long as we have leaders who will drive us to do what we don’t want to do in order that might keep our appointment.

I never wanted to like Tom Landry. But I want to achieve the kind of things he achieved–helping people reach their goals even those goals required them doing things they don’t want to do.

Now, I’m going to work out.

Thad Cochran’s Pyrrhic Win

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit (another term for this would be “hollow victory”).

— from Wikipedia

I keep some things in a little box in my bedroom. Some Navy and submarine mementos, some letters, favorite photos of the kids that mean things only to me.

In that box are a few political reminders, too. Some Reagan campaign buttons from 1980 and 1984, Jack Kemp stuff from 1988, and a series of Republican lapel pins, buttons, and ID cards from 1980 through 1996.

Yes, I was a proud Republican for a long time. An old high school friend of mine liked to mock me for introducing myself as a Republican. It’s what I led with.

In 1996, I struggling to keep a little company afloat while working full time as an IS manager at a small healthcare company in St. Louis. I was also writing an online column three times a week. Financially, things weren’t so hot.

But politically, things were looking up. Republicans had taken the House of Representatives for the first time in my life. Democrat President Clinton was at the bottom of the polls. The Democrats had abandoned HillaryCare, and real welfare reform was assured.

Then, the Republicans nominated the only man alive who could lose to a weakened Bill Clinton. When Tony Bennett said, “We win!” at Clinton’s election night party in 1996, something came apart in my mind. Or in my heart.

Because of that troubled, pained revelation in 1996, I could feel Dan Riehl’s pain last Tuesday as the Cochran-McDaniel fiasco peaked.

I honestly hate seeing a thread of tweets like these. Dan’s a good guy who believes in liberty. As you’ll see, he’s a true Reagan Democrat who bought Reagan’s message of freedom and liberty and believe Reagan’s message was the Republican message. Like many of us, Dan has realized that the GOP never bought Reagan’s message. Republicans simply rode out the storm until Reagan rode off into the sunset.

  Yep.

Money talks, purpose walks.

So McConnell and the GOP establishment made their wish come true in Mississippi. They sold their souls to crush a purpose-driven conservative and preserve a fossil for another round of fundraising with the Chamber of Commerce.

At what price? From Politico:

The scope of the effort to suppress activist-backed candidates has been broader and costlier than is widely understood, covering at least 20 House and Senate primaries from North Carolina to California, and from coastal Mississippi to the outer tip of Long Island. The loose coalition of establishment forces encompasses two dozen advocacy groups, industry associations and super PACs that have raised and spent millions on behalf of Washington’s chosen candidates.

That’s why I’m taking it easy for the 2014 election. I’ll support Tony Pousosa  for St. Louis County Executive and a few other excellent candidates for various offices. I’ll vote, but a lot of my votes will go to the candidate I deem most likely to maximize my freedom and power, not the candidate the GOP chose for me. And when I talk to people, I’ll encourage them to look beyond the establishment parties we’ve been told are the only choices.

In Mississippi, the Republican power decided that crushing a principled grassroots candidate was more important than saving the republic. They won that battle. And they might win a few more this year. For many reasons, I think the GOP will do well in 2014’s general election, too. Might even win the Senate. I won’t be surprised at all if November brings news of the end of the tea party (again), and the return of the Republican Establishment.

But 2016 could be a very different story. Between 2014 and 2016, about 4 million reliable voters will die. About 2.8 million of them are reliable Republican votes. The deceased will be replaced by about 5.8 million new voters from a generation with a strong libertarian streak that grows stronger every day.

This Chamber of Commerce GOP of the 2010s has given Millennials no reason to consider the Republican party its political home. In Mississippi, the Republicans validated Millennial’s distrust of institutions. And in 2016, Millennials will decide everything.

The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. — Plutarch

So, congratulations Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran. One more victory like this and it’ll be the end of you.

Good riddance.

You might want to read:

The New American Political Dichotomy

What To Do About the New Dichotomy

Why We’re The RINOs

The American Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death – American Style

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men.

—Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

We’re facing a different kind of death—economic death. Self-determination death. Self-ownership death. The world seems to be going up in flames. Ukraine vs. Russia. Syria’s brutal Assad vs. al Qaeda. China vs. Japan and Vietnam. The United States vs. Everyone.

 

But mostly, the political dichotomy here and around the world is the elites vs. the plebeians.

Martin Armstrong (via ZeroHedge.com):

The Guardian reported that some 50,000 people marched in London to protest against austerity. They cried: “Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster – or the tax avoiders? It is selective anger.”

In the United States, both the federal government and the states have lost control of our borders. I don’t mean this as hyperbole, as many have over the years. There are literally thousands of destitute children taking over the border states of the US, and no one can stop it. No one. These refugees bring with them disease, poverty, and ignorance. And the President has no clue what to do.

Meanwhile, the world’s economies are facades hiding an empty bank managed by champagne-bathing, corrupt bankers. Congress and the White House and the press and the Fed keep the mask in place.

Yet we all know, deep down, the mask is slipping. Gravity drags the mask down. The banksters sweat a bit more, lubricating the mask and assisting gravity.

And yet on Wall Street the band plays on. The worse the economic news, the higher the market goes. From ZeroHedge.com on Friday:

It was a busy week… Shittiest GDP print in 5 years, dismal consumption data, and European confidence and PMIs plunge (and Japanese macro data just collapsed)

  • JPY’s biggest gain in 14 weeks
  • 10Y Yield’s biggest drop in 6 weeks
  • USD Index worst week in 14 weeks
  • European stock’s worst week in 14 weeks

“Most Shorted” stocks continue to surge back to what looks like a great double top forming (7th week in a row)…

And the market responded with panic-buying to close Friday in the green.

Back to Poe:

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys.

—Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

Did he call these people to warn them? To prepare? To train them in the medical arts?

Of course not. He told them buy stocks.

It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.

—Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

Maybe Edgar Allen Poe saw 2014 coming. And maybe Martin Armstrong sees what lies ahead.

The solutions from politics will always be the same – grab more power. We are in a downward spiral of liberty and how far we go down this path to the future will be determined by the people and if they at least wise up and see this is not class warfare, it is the people against government. This is why I say career politicians are dangerous for they can be bought way too easily as Clinton was to open the flood gates for the bankers.

This is why I now write about the new political dichotomy and what we can about it. And why I’ve lost faith in the GOP’s ability or willingness to stop the red death.

In Virginia, people did wise up–enough to jettison Eric Cantor, who will now work with massive corporations and TBTF banksters and their PACs to destroy David Brat. The GOP Establishment doesn’t want just any Republican economics professor to win—they want their candidates to win. As Mitch McConnell told us, the Republican Party’s only purpose now is to crush the tea party.

A couple of nights ago, I was in my garage putting tools away. A wicked looking black spider ran across the floor right in front of me. We have a Black Widow problem, so I didn’t bother to get the details of this bug. I stepped on it. Then I felt my body shiver as if the temperature had dropped to -5. The spider popped and hundreds of tiny, miniature versions of the spider scurried out from under my topsider. I killed the one and unleashed hundreds. (Others have experienced this freaky phenomenon.)

Maybe the GOP will succeed in crushing the tea party. But we’re like that black spider. Crush one and hundreds run from your shoe.

Let’s hope it’s tea partiers. Here’s Martin Armstrong’s depressing close:

This is not going to end pretty. The question is when does society wake up? Just how high will this price be that we have to pay? They will blame the rich and the idiots will cheer – get them. What will happen when there is no more wealth to hunt? We end up with a communist state by default – no wealth, just career politicians who blame everyone but themselves.

I’m sure my elephant-hat-wearing Republican friends are unhappy with my recent turn toward independence. But saving the Republican Party isn’t my mission. I’m trying to save self-governance. I’m trying to save self-determination. I’m trying to avoid totalitarianism and fascism. I’m trying to destroy the Red Death before it destroys us. And the GOP isn’t helping just now.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

—Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

Tomorrow I plan to profile some candidates you haven’t heard of. You haven’t heard of them because they don’t represent an establishment party. When you vote, I want you to know your choices, not just the choices your establishment overlords want you to know.

We Are the RINOs

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You, dear reader, you and I are the RINOs.Elephant Dung

We can now stop calling the crony capitalists and their legislative puppets RINO. They are the TRUE Republicans. It’s their party; a lobbyist bought it for them, not for us. They own it. We are the impostors, the fakes, the interlopers into an intimate mating dance between the masters of manipulation and the TBTF banks and corporate overlords.

Step back. Take a breath.

We Had It Backwards

I understand why you think the Roy Blunts and Thad Cochrans of the world are the impostors. I used to think so, too. I read the Republican platform. I listened to the Republican speeches. I read the Republican position papers. And mostly I agreed.

Then I watched the Big Republican Names–the Establishment–go out day after day and do the opposite. Or, more often, the Big Republicans would slither between the carefully crafted text of its documents to a position that felt comfy and consistent. To them, at least.

Do you know what “is” is?

When I saw their inconsistencies–what others less charitable than I might call “hypocrisies”–I said, “Wait a minute. That’s not the Republican way! We don’t grant favors to donors. We don’t take one person’s property and give it to someone with more clout. We play referee and let the players decide the outcome of the game.”

But when I railed against Republican inconsistencies, I was forgetting an important lesson–a lesson I learned from my mom and dad and the Dominican Sisters at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Grade School, God rest its soul. I forgot that words don’t matter. I forgot this most valuable lesson:

We are what we do consistently.

Yes, I believe in lex orandi, lex credendi: the law of praying [is] the law of believing. But it only works if we pray a lot and let the prayers work their magic. It doesn’t work if we pray with bad intent. We can stop the magic of prayer. And if we pray for two minutes a day and sin for 20 hours, we become the sin, not the prayer.

Identifying Marks of a Republican

So what do the Big Republicans do consistently? They grant favors for friends with power and money. Doing favors for powerful and rich friends is what it means to be Republican. It’s what they’ve become through consist behavior. A party exists to preserve and grow its own party, not to save the country.

That’s the whole issue in the Export-Import Bank case. Eric Cantor and his myrmidons in the House kept the Ex-Im alive to help their rich and powerful friends at Boeing and Caterpillar.

And it’s the issue with guys like Senator Cochran. Thad Cochran, every day, finds ways to take money from people in other states and give it to voters in Mississippi.

And then there’s the Missouri Republican legislators grant $800,000,000 in benefits to donors on the last day of the session.

True Republicans take from everybody and give to the rich and powerful. It’s not what they say; it’s what they do. (Tom Delay, anyone?)

We who work for the Tea Party and Campaign for Liberty and all the other groups who fight for level playing fields and the rule of law and Constitutional limits to power–we’re the weirdos. We’re deviants who violate the spirit of Republicanism.

Again, it’s an easy mistake to make. Many of us remember Reagan. Many of us studied Goldwater. We all read William F. Buckley. And we assume that Republicanism is what Reagan, Goldwater, and Buckley stood for. But it wasn’t.

Like us, Reagan, Goldwater, and Buckley were political deviants. They violated the spirit of Republican Party law. They may have influenced the party’s platform, but the platform is only words. The Party is the sum of its deeds, not the sum of its glittering generalities.

How to Change the Party: Leverage

Can we change the party? Sure. But it takes a long time. And we need leverage. And the party has to want to change.

We’ve tried using primaries as a lever, but that’s like David playing Goliath’s game. Primaries are what Republicans and Democrats do best. They invented the system, for God’s sake; do you really think you’ll beat them at their game? Hell, no.

Tea Party Inc. (FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots) are good people and all, but they operate just like the Chamber of Commerce. They try to beat the Establishment at the Establishment’s game, and they get their asses kicked almost every time.

Maybe Reagan and Buckley could commandeer the party now and then, but Reagan and Buckley were kinds of geniuses. We’re not. At least, I’m sure as hell no genius.

We are Davids, and Davids fight a different game if they want to win. Davids don’t rush Goliath with a boastful yell. They find a new weapon, new tactics, new fields of battle. Or they repurpose old ones.

But There’s a New Dichotomy in Town

When I write about the new American political dichotomy, I’m writing about our slingshot. That slingshot is our lever.

Political party survival depends on having a large block of voters it can take for granted. People who vote for the party no matter what. People who lie say terrible things about the party and its leaders, then go out and vote for that party anyway.

For Democrats, it’s African-Americans. The Democrats can do or say anything and still get 90% of the black vote. Anything at all.

For Republicans, conservatives and conservitarians serve the role of sycophant. No matter how badly the GOP violates our principles, we’ll vote Republican because the Democrats are even worse.

A sycophant sucks up to someone in power to gain an advantage or favor. Conservatives, libertarians, and blacks have been sucking up to Republican and Democrat power for decades. Do we get favor? No. We get scraps, pats on the head, and kicks in the teeth.

But what if the sycophants de-sycophantify? What if the abused people of both parties say, “screw this?” What if the taken-for-granted plebeians wake up and realize that we have more in common with other plebeians than we have in common with either of the two Big Parties?

Then David fractures Goliath’s freakishly big skull with a rock, and Goliath collapses in a heap.

And then David better be prepared to run things well, because David will soon be king.

You can be a RINO or you can be David, but you can’t be a Republican. Not now, anyway. It’s a closed club.

Call me David.